Two positive kanji, easy to write and read: Japan to follow precedent in selecting new era name


The government confirmed Friday that it will follow the procedures taken to pick the current era name of Heisei in choosing a name for the new era.

The decision was made at the first meeting held by a committee headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to discuss the selection process for the new era name. The members included the director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and the vice minister of the Cabinet Office.

The government will announce the name for the new era on April 1, ahead of the start of the new era on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito is set to ascend the throne to succeed his father, Emperor Akihito. Suga revealed at a news conference Friday that the government will promulgate an ordinance establishing the new era name the same day.

Guidelines for the selection process of a new era name stipulate that the government hold discussions with a panel of experts to seek the members’ opinions, and that the prime minister gather input from the chiefs and deputy chiefs of both chambers of the Diet.

The guidelines also say that an era name should have a positive meaning that is appropriate to the people’s ideals, and be written using two kanji characters. The era name should also be easy to read and write, not commonly used and should not have been used in previous era names or in the posthumous names of previous emperors.

“We hope that the new era name will be accepted widely among the people and will be deeply rooted in the lives of the Japanese people,” Suga said.

He stressed that the government will make thorough preparations for the new name.